Tag Archives: trust

in the trenches

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years here on this earth, it’s that parenting is not for the faint of heart. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade being a Momma for anything. It’s the hard lessons, discipline, tears, and endless work needed to accomplish the end goal of raising an independent, well-adjusted, God-fearing child. The saying, “the days are long, but the years are short” resonates in my head this morning as I ponder the next right steps to take. I am reminded of the scripture, “A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” (Proverbs 16:9)

I have been diligently pouring over God’s Word in this particular trench my family finds itself in. I find such comfort in the Psalms. He can be trusted, when it seems all others fail or aren’t there for you. His Word promises He will never leave or forsake us. I believe that and place my trust in Him.

Stay in the Word, press into Him and don’t give the enemy a foothold. He desires to break apart families, marriages, and homes. Don’t wait until you find yourself in crisis mode to seek the Lord. Be in His Word, take it in like a vitamin for the body. Call out to Him, hide His Word in your heart. Let go of a desire to control and release those reigns into His hands. He will carry you and me through times of trouble.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Proverbs 3:6

The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” (Hebrews 13:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

some days you just need reminding

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some days you just need reminding

I’m sure you, like me, need some good, old-fashioned reminding of what is TRUE and RIGHT. Our enemy sure knows how to sneak in our thoughts to deceive us and bring confusion, frustration, doubt, anger, and even try to paralyze us with fear. However, and I am so thankful for this truth: our Lord is faithful and more than able to overcome these lies, if we will ask Him to cover and fill our mind and heart with His truth.

On a rainy day, like today, I’m feeling a tad pummeled by the enemy’s lies. So, I’m pulling out my armor! Here’s what I’m asking the Lord to fill my mind with:

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. (Galatians 5:22-23)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (Psalms 4:8)

For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. (Ephesians 6:12)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.             (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. (Exodus 14:14)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalms 56:3)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.                                    (1 Corinthians. 10:13)

But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. (1 John 1:9)

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!   (Matthew 7:11)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalms 28:7)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11)

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalms 17:8)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

And do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27)

Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. (Psalms 143:9)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

My prayer for you is that you would seek to feed on God’s Word to transform and renew your thinking. He is a good, good Father.

a great reminder!

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One of my favorite people to read about and learn from is the late Elisabeth Elliot. What faith she had in the Lord and if you’ve read any of her books, or know anything about her husband, the late *Jim Elliot, you will certainly know what I mean.

As I was reading my devotional this morning, which happens to be one of her books, I was struck by her words:

Learning to pray is learning to trust the wisdom, the power, and the love of our Heavenly Father, always so far beyond our dreams. He knows our need and knows ways to meet it that have never entered our heads. Things we feel sure we need for happiness may often lead to our ruin. Things we think will ruin us (the chariots of Egypt, or the waters of the sea), if we believe what the Father tells us and surrender ourselves into His strong arms, bring us deliverance and joy.

~Excerpt from Keep A Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliot

Interestingly enough, my husband and I just shared a conversation this morning where we confessed our fear of trusting Him for our needs to be met with a particular expense we’re facing in the (hopefully) distant future…wayyyy distant future. It was then that the Lord reminded me of a time not too far back when we were faced with a similar overwhelming financial expense. At that time, a wise friend of our family wisely counseled my husband, “It’s not about the (thing you’re needing); it’s a faith issue.” And, indeed it was. A matter of days later, we were able to financially take care of the need we had. Of course, the Lord somehow, some way provided. Then, as usually happens, we were on to the next seemingly impossible situation.

I truly believe that the Lord places situations in our path where we are faced with choosing faith over fear. Since His Word is clear about not being afraid or fearful, we hopefully, eventually succumb to placing our faith in Him. And, if we’re prudent, we’ll keep a mental file, at least, of all the times throughout our lives where He has brought us through over, and over again. Later, when faced with another seemingly impossible situation, we can recall all He has brought us through, choose faith and banish fear knowing that He is for us and not against us and that He can be trusted.

*In 1956, five young men, including Elliot’s husband, Jim, traveled into the jungles of Ecuador to establish communication with the fierce Huaorani Tribe, a people whose only previous response to the outside world has been to attack all strangers. The men’s mission combined modern technology with innate ingenuity, sparked by a passionate determination to get the gospel to those without Christ. In a nearby village, their wives waited to hear from them. The news they received – all five missionaries had been murdered – changed lives around the world forever. Written while she was still a missionary in South America and at the request of the men’s families, Through Gates of Splendor was Elisabeth Elliot’s personal account of the final mission of these five courageous men.

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STOP…& Pray why don’t you

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Crossroads — I’ve been here more times than I can count.  You know, laboring over a decision yet chatting it up with well-meaning people, some of which are strangers, I find myself just as confused and tormented as I was when I started. I feel that I’ve gone nowhere and fast.

If your heart is beating, I’m quite sure you have lived here too. Why is it that we so badly want to obtain the opinion of everyone else on the planet, except for the One who created us? I mean really, how silly is that? Or, we exhaust all of our very limited resources before surrendering to the Lord? If you are a believer, you’re aware of the goal as Christ followers: surrender. Surrender myself, my plans, my thoughts, hopes and dreams to the One who can make sense of it all and more importantly, give us His best. After all, He is not a God of chaos.

Surrender: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another; to yield to the power, control, or possession of

For most of my life, I’ve treated these such decisions I’ve described as if I’m walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. One wrong step and I’m suddenly doomed because I made the wrong choice, in my mind anyway. Where in the world did I subscribe to this crazy line of thinking? Enveloped in this crazy thought process of mine is a measure of fear. Fear of what God might be asking me to do. Fear that I can’t imagine how in the world little ‘ol me could possibly carry out this assignment. Fear that I might fail and expose my ignorance to the watching world. Fear of the unknown, probably trumps them all.

God is not like this at all. He is a good and loving Father who wants and desires to give His very best to those who are willing to wait on Him rather than rush ahead to their own plans and agenda. Sure, our “plans” may make total sense to us but it’s important to remember that we have a very limited view of our lives; so limited in fact that we can only see what’s in the here and now. Conversely, the Lord sees the whole picture with all the circumstances we’re unaware of. Our “best plans” fall severely short of His plans for us as Christ followers. But the kicker is, we have to be willing to wait….and pray, which is a foreign concept in the instant society we live in today. The world screams, “hurry up and grab it or you’ll miss out,” which places the focus on self, while God’s economy challenges us to be patient, to wait on Him, to trust and obey, to pray and seek His wisdom. Sometimes, the most active thing we can do is pray and, His timing is not ours.

That being said, lately, I have felt quite convicted of just what I’ve written…talking to everyone else but God yet expecting His answer. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t prayed like I should be. I haven’t surrendered my desires, my will, my plan in order to hear from Him. I have allowed fear to place me in bondage. Interestingly enough, when I pray for others in my life facing similar life decisions is “Lord, will You deafen (name of friend I’m praying for) ears to all voices but Yours. Will you enable (him or her) to be able to discern Your voice from others clamoring for (his/her) attention. Will You speak boldly into (his/her) life that there is no doubt as to which path is theirs to take.” 

Sure, God speaks to us through His Word, His Holy Spirit, and even others. The point is to have a trusted few who are faithful followers in Christ, who will pray for you and point you back to Him. We cannot hear from God when we’re super busy and running hither and yon, consulting with everyone we know. Oftentimes, God’s path isn’t the most popular path and doesn’t always make sense to others. As I’ve been reminded time and again by my trusted (few) friends: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

My challenge to you, as well as to me, is to stop the madness. Stop the busyness. Still yourself before Him. Rather, get on your knees in humility, cry out to God surrendering the plans you have and yielding your spirit to His plans. Be still. Wait for Him. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed to make a decision right this very minute. Sometimes, prayer can be the most active thing you can do. Press into Him through prayer, and the reading of His Word. Trust that He has it all worked out…in His timing, not ours. And don’t forget that His ways are higher and He see the full picture.

I’ll close with a friend’s recent facebook post: “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” He is faithful! Amen!

 

 

 

 

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

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These words used to bring tears to my eyes. Tears for a couple of reasons, actually. I had a wonderful, loving, godly, fun, best-friend kind of Mom for 23 years of my life. She was the nurturing type, full of mercy, peace, and grace. She poured into me, sacrificed in huge ways, and most importantly led me to Christ. God called her home at 47 years of age. For many years, I was conflicted with ‘why God did you take her from me when I loved her and needed her so much?’ and thoughts of being at peace knowing she was safely in the arms of her loving Jesus, free from pain. Sprinkle in the tormenting thoughts of ‘why does Jesus heal some, and yet others have to suffer, gaining their ultimate healing?‘ If I’m being honest, I still struggle with some of these emotions, and probably will until Jesus takes me home.

As time passed, after *marriage, I never thought I’d hear the words “Happy Mother’s Day!” I watched and celebrated my friends who were celebrating their pregnancies and subsequent births of their bundles of joy. While I was truly happy for them, I found it increasingly more difficult to hide my own feelings of desperately wanting to be a Mom and have a child of my own. Eventually, we found ourselves on the path to fertility treatment. It was a lonely, depressing world of disappointment upon disappointment; not to mention the thousands of dollars spent on a hope unrealized.

God had other plans for my husband and me. Unaware at the time, we faithfully prayed and trusted Him for direction and wisdom. The Lord kept opening our eyes to adoption. While it took me awhile to warm up to the idea, God slowly prepared me for a new journey. I have to admit, this path is not for the faint of heart. We went to training in and out-of-state, completed physical exams, psychiatric exams, interviews, background checks, counseling, mounds of paperwork, home visits, and created a book of pictures introducing our family to birth mothers who would then choose a prospective adoptive couple. As my husband jokingly says, “we did everything short of having a body cavity search”.

Nearly two years into our process of becoming a “waiting family” or “paper pregnant” as they call it, we found ourselves fighting disappointment when we still hadn’t been contacted by our agency that a birth mother had looked at our profile, wanting to meet us. It was then that God showed up in a big way! The Lord led us to our precious birth mother through some friends. Ironically we met with her for the first time near Mother’s Day. It was this initial meeting which led to accompanying her to doctor’s appointments, long chats over lunch, meeting her family and at long last, joining her in the delivery room as our baby boy was born! Truly, what at first appeared to us as our “Plan B” quickly turned into God’s “Plan A” for our family. We could not have asked for a more beautiful story had we written it ourselves. God was in every single detail.

I struggled trusting God that He would answer our prayers for a child of our own. The enemy hurled doubt left and right. The Lord, however, held our hands and affirmed us throughout our journey to our son even when our fears threatened to take over. The Lord continued to speak to us not only through our own prayers, but through others as well. We felt encouraged and edified, almost as if God was carrying us through til the very end. He was faithful and would not let go.

As my husband and I often tell our son, “God made us a family”. And, He did. Undeniably one of the most difficult holidays of the year for me, Mother’s Day, has now become one of the most joyous days of my life. God heard our cries for a child and He answered our prayers. God’s ways are often not our ways; His plans are not always our plans, and His timing is often not our timing. Know that He can be trusted with the longings of our heart. He is a good, good Father.

*marriage-another God story of how God brought my husband to me in His timing, not my own.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. (Psalm 145:17, NIV)

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. (James 1:17, MSG)

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. (Psalm 57:10, NIV)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, NIV)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,… (Ephesians 3:20)

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. (Psalm 34:18, MSG)

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.          (1 Samuel 1:27, NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)